Ryan : I love wearing sandals. I grew up in the U.S. Midwest, not exactly a farmboy, but still I spent more than my share of time running around barefoot. Even as an adult, at the end of my workday, the first thing that happens once I get home is the shoes come off. All summer long, I’m looking for any excuse not to wear shoes. For me, sandals are the perfect solution–they can complement any look, from completely casual to somewhat dressy. Even if I can’t be lounging on a balmy patio, awaiting the arrival of companions bearing frosty tropical drinks, my feet may well think that I am. I’ll wear sandals with pretty much anything (although, hmm, I have yet to try them with a tux). In fact, I sometimes get crap for wearing sandals when others find it stylistically inappropriate. They’re entitled to their opinions, of course, even when they’re wrong.
So, Mr. Oh, I’m glad you proposed this collaboration! (Yes, I absolutely acknowledge that this was your very good idea. The readers can give you the credit if they like it, and blame you if they don’t.) I want to make sure that everyone knows how much lobbying I had to do to get you to let me include this first selection, the very casual Beach Bum flip-flops, by tatoo Korvin. I’ve had them for ages, and rather than getting old and languishing in my inventory, gathering virtual dust, every so often I find myself breaking them out again. I think that kind of repeat wearability warrants a solid recommendation. They’re touch-scripted with over 4600 variations (I counted): 63 different main shoe colors and textures; 74 different strap colors and textures; 9 different stitch and sole colors. Handy strap and shoe texture charts are included for reference. You also get seven built-in walks and optional sparkle, just in case it’s a sparkly day for you. What these lack in gravitas, they make up for in sheer fun. Simple but classic. L$250 at D2TK (D2TK 207, 225, 66).
Mr Oh : Over 4000 variations, and all are great for the pool and beach, but there are some sandals I know we both love, sandals that are supremely versatile even without scripts or sparkle: Fallingwater Cellardoor’s Boho for men. You’ve written about them before, but they remain favourites and I can’t imagine an article on sandals not mentioning them. These are good strong leather soles with matching leather straps that are full of interesting detail without being overly ornate, with steel rivets that manage to be a design feature as well as provide firm and sturdy fastening.
Available in 4 colours (slightly darker colours in real life than the photos, where I’ve flood-lit them to show the details better), Boho sandals cost L$250 per colour, available at the main Shiny Things store. Buying a colour gives you access to shoe shape and prim sandals in five sizes. A demo pack is available which will show you all the colours and let you try all the sizes.
Ryan : Mr. Oh, when you’re right, you’re right–the Bohos have long been my “go-to” sandal of choice. In that arena, the Bohos now have some company and competition in the form of Eponymous Trenchmouth’s new Havana sandals, released this week at JCS. Pardon me while I wax rhapsodic over the artistic and technical accomplishment the Havanas represent. The lines are smooth, clean and beautiful but unmistakably masculine; the leather textures are wonderfully realistic without looking “crispy” or flattened-out. I’m constantly amazed by the tiny details that might seem unnecessary to some but are so clearly important to Epo–look at the stitching detail on the inner strap surfaces, or the brand tag inside the shoe, on the bed of the sole. Like the Bohos, these are sandals I would gladly buy and wear in RL, if only I could. They’re available in your choice of four colors: Black, Dark Brown, Medium Brown, and Khaki. The Havanas are also Epo’s first shoe scripted for automatic resize. Six size presets are available, ranging from Very Small Indeed to Nearly Gargantuan. L$350 a pair at JCS (La Fortuna 51, 49, 22).
Since I’m already talking about sandals by Epo, I wonder, Mr. Oh, if you have seen his line of “jelly” shoes for men? Only one of the styles, Finz, is a true sandal, but its cousins, Reef Rider and Mavericks, are equally, equally whimsical and certainly welcome here by association. I was privileged to get a look at an early men’s jelly design while it was still “under construction.” The question Epo posed to me then was: “Are the men of SL ready for jelly shoes?” As I recall, in the end we agreed that only time would tell. In some ways, I think these are even more an impressive technical accomplishment than conventional shoes as they must successfully create the illusion of translucence without actually using any transparent prims. (When I asked about that, Epo sighed and said, “I tried. Every single inner prim edge showed.”) All things considered, I think they’re quite remarkable. Each style is available in six different colors. A bargain, nay, an absolute steal at L$50 a pair, a price that surely doesn’t even begin to reflect the amount of work that went into their creation (but check the Asides for a freebie). You can get them at JCS (La Fortuna 51, 49, 22).
Mr Oh : I guess it’s no surprise that an article on footgear mentions Fallingwater and Eponymous. But now I want to show you some beautiful sandals from a designer you might not associate with shoes. It’s Karigan Ducatillon of Husky GFX. She’s best known for her fantasy outfits. But the quest for realism and completeness led her to design complementary boots and shoes. Thankfully, Husky have the policy of selling these separately.
Here then are the sandals that were designed to accompany the desert outfit Junayd. They are only L$150 and available at the massive new Husky GFX main store in the men’s boots hall. There are no demos available but the sandals come small enough for men’s size 0 feet like mine, and you can make copies and expand them from there if need be, since Husky allow copy and modify.
Despite their costumed origins, Junayd sandals also look great with many different kinds of outfits from first century togas to twenty-first century suits. Available in black or brown, these are finely-treated leather featuring hand-tooled motifs on the straps and even on the side of the soles. What you notice first, however, is the distinctive toe-piece which serves to provide some much-needed definition to the otherwise block-like Linden Lab avatar foot.
Ryan : Mr. Oh, it’s highly interesting that you should mention the, shall we say, minor limitations of the avatar foot. JB Gazov has two words for you: prim toes. JB’s Men’s Belt Sandals have what are described as “Natural Real Toes,” and the first reaction I got was a stunned “Wow, those feet look great! What skin is that?” I think we can say that this is one idea that works. The forward leather strap of these simple belted sandals cleverly hides the division between your avatar’s “real” foot and the sandal’s “artificial” toes. Given the (yes, I’ll say it) ridiculously, pathetically simple shape of the avatar foot, the clear, unavoidable truth is that these prim toes look far better and more realistic than any skin designer, no matter how talented, can ever hope to accomplish with skin artwork. The sandals are touch-scripted for selection from six different strap colors: Black, Blue, Brown, Cream, Dark Brown, and Red. Via the touch menu, you can also adjust the skin color of the toes and choose from three different toenail colors. L$280 (and worth every penny) at Jâ€™s (TSUKISHIMA 207, 232, 22). A time-limited but fully functional demo is available in the shop.
Mr Oh : Well, there you have it: several of our favourite sandals (as of today). We’ve not really included flip-flops except for those first pair of Ryan favourites, but you’ll find a number shops that make good ones. We also didn’t go into comparing Japanese geta or zori sandals â€” that would be a mammoth article of its own.
I’ll just briefly fill you in on some “honourable mention” sandals that didn’t make into the shortlist for one reason or another: Also at Husky GFX, you’ll find some other sandals, the handmade Medieval (L$150) and the very Roman LaceMaster (L$349). No demos available, but they should work even with very small feet, judging from Junayd. Then there are a bunch that will not go small enough to work with my size-zero feet, but which may work with yours: inexpensive but stylish are Sandals for men (L$70) available only in brown at Wither in otaru (demo available); B&G (Boys & Girls) have a range of inexpensive modern sandals: Pool (L$100), Beach (L$100) and Roman (L$150) in 6 colours each (price is per colour; no demos available); and finally the nearly-high-heeled Jumeira (L$380) sandals with their interesting netting and scripted jewels, available from Massimo (demo available).
Ooh, I almost forgot: if you don’t have them already, don’t forget to hop over to Robin (Sojourner) Wood’s shop to pick up a pair of the wonderful barefoot socks (free), a must for wearing sandals with long trousers. These are copy-ok, so you can paste a pair into each folder of sandals.
So put away those heavy boots and lace-ups and relax with us!